\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäsk How to pronounce ask (audio) ; dialectal ˈaks \
asked\ ˈas(k)t How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäs(k)t , ˈask ; dialectal  ˈakst \; asking

Definition of ask

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to call on for an answer She asked him about his trip.
b : to put a question about asking her opinion
c : speak, utter ask a question
2a : to make a request of She asked her teacher for help.
b : to make a request for She asked help from her teacher.
3 : to call for : require a challenge that will ask much of us
4 : to set as a price asked $3000 for the car
5 : invite She asked a few friends to the party.

intransitive verb

1 : to seek information ask for her address
2 : to make a request asked for food
ask for it
: to behave in a way that invites punishment or retribution Experts used to think that battered women were "asking for it"—somehow masochistically provoking abuse from their men. Mercifully, that idea has now been discredited.— Michele Ingrassia
ask for trouble
: to behave in a way that is likely to result in trouble … you are asking for trouble if you try to lift too much weight …— Douglas Jeffrey



Definition of ask (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal
: something asked for, requested, or required of someone used especially in phrases like a big ask and a tough ask to say that what is being asked for or hoped for is difficult or unlikely It's a big ask, I think, demanding audiences recall a plot from two years ago, and while normally I don't mind a big ask … this particular ask utterly defeated me.— Deborah Ross

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Other Words from ask


asker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ask

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for ask


ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information. ask implies no more than the putting of a question. ask for directions question usually suggests the asking of series of questions. questioned them about every detail of the trip interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning. the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation. queried a librarian about the book inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions. began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue

ask, request, solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one's wants known. ask implies no more than the statement of the desire. ask a favor of a friend request implies greater formality and courtesy. requests the pleasure of your company solicit suggests a calling attention to one's wants or desires by public announcement or advertisement. a letter soliciting information

Examples of ask in a Sentence

Verb I need to ask a question. Did you ask her yet? “Have you seen the movie yet?” he asked. a list of frequently asked questions “If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?” “I'm 35 years old. Why do you ask?” “Do they have any soda?” “I don't know. I'll go ask.” I would have given it to him, but he never asked. We had to stop and ask directions. May I ask the time? Did you ask permission to leave?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The final option is aimed at those who did not manage to register to cast their vote from abroad, who cannot cross the border to vote in México or simply do not have a voter ID: Call family and friends in México and ask them to vote. Javier Arce, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 Walgreens and Jewel-Osco stores continue to offer vaccinations to the public both by appointment and to those who walk into the store and ask for a shot, as long as a slot is open. Steve Sadin,, 4 June 2021 The eat-in kitchen has everything a home cook could ask for: Sub-Zero refrigerator, double oven, warming drawer, wine fridge and walk-in pantry. cleveland, 4 June 2021 On the Slack channel, lawyers post job listings, ask questions, and offer advice. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, 4 June 2021 Can be said as a question to ask if someone wants to do something or confirm. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 4 June 2021 Autoplay Qinxuan Pan, accused of gunning down Yale University graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Kevin Jiang earlier this year, is expected to ask a judge in Connecticut to reduce his $20 million bail in a hearing scheduled for next month. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 3 June 2021 González, the representative from Dallas, attempted to ask questions of the Republican laying out the resolution — but the latter declined to allow any exchange with the Democrats. Cayla Harris, San Antonio Express-News, 3 June 2021 But Quinn says the detectives began to ask about his relationship with Huskins. Sean Dooley, ABC News, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s a big ask for any IT team, and many companies end up doing it by hand multiple times. Matt Holleran, Forbes, 21 May 2021 That's the big ask, and then there are smaller asks that are on the state level. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 29 Apr. 2021 In a league built for parity (it's had seven different champions in the last eight seasons), that's a big ask. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2021 Yes, this is a big ask, especially for anyone who hasn't ripped apart a computer before. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, 1 Apr. 2021 That’s not an easy ask -- no team plays seamless offensive basketball for 40 minutes. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 14 Mar. 2021 Bringing back students within a month is a big ask, given that the district has yet to reach an agreement with the teachers union on what the school day will look like. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Mar. 2021 Their top ask is for more mental health care, according to individuals experiencing homelessness, social service providers and local business owners who talked to The Oregonian/OregonLive. oregonlive, 2 May 2021 It was just relisted for $58.5 million, down around 22% from his original ask of $75 million. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ask.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ask


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ask


Middle English, from Old English āscian; akin to Old High German eiscōn to ask, Lithuanian ieškoti to seek, Sanskrit icchati he seeks


noun derivative of ask entry 1

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Time Traveler for ask

Time Traveler

The first known use of ask was before the 12th century

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Statistics for ask

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ask.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ask



English Language Learners Definition of ask

: to say or write something to someone as a way of gaining information : to request an answer to a question
: to tell someone in the form of a question that you want to be given something or that you want something to happen : to request something
: to invite (someone) to go somewhere or do something


\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) \
asked; asking

Kids Definition of ask

1 : to seek information by posing a question She asked if I was worried. They asked about our trip.
2 : to make a request Did you ask for help?
3 : to set as a price I'm asking ten dollars for my skates.
4 : invite sense 2 I asked some friends to my party.
5 : to behave as if seeking a result You're asking for trouble.

More from Merriam-Webster on ask

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ask

Nglish: Translation of ask for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ask for Arabic Speakers


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